Trump, Republicans worry race slipping away

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Aug 12, 2016 22:09 IST
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign rally in Kissimmee, Florida, on Thursday. (AFP)

Donald Trump talks about winning all the time, and tells supporters the US will win so much when he is president they will have to beg him to stop. To consider defeat must be painful.

”At the end, it’s either going to work or I’m going to, you know, I’m going to have a very, very nice long vacation,” he said during an interview on Thursday.

Talk of his campaign being in serious trouble has picked up in recent days, with many Republicans calling on the party to either dump him or divert resources to congressional races.

A group of 70 Republican officials told the party in a joint letter on Thursday that money it spent on Trump was “donor money wasted on the losing effort of a candidate” undermining the party.

Trump is trailing his Democratic party rival Hillary Clinton by a widening margin in polls — by more than 6 points in the RealClearPolitics average — nationally and in some crucial swing states that could determine the race.

He is trailing Clinton in Pennsylvania, by double digits, Virginia and other states, and her campaign is even talking about putting solidly Republican-voting states in play.

Trump acknowledged these setbacks in a speech to religious leaders in Orlando, Florida on Thursday, and said even a state like Republican-voting Utah was slipping out of his reach.

His poll woes have been compounded by his incendiary rhetoric, which excites the Republican party’s core voters, but who alone cannot carry him through to the White House.

Trump is not able to expand his appeal, mostly on account of his remarks. His public spat with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of a fallen Muslim soldier, outraged even Republicans.

He was then seen as inciting violence against Clinton, which he has stressfully denied, and went on to call her and President Barack Obama “co-founder” and “founder” of the Islamic State.

He stood his ground, when presented with opportunities to scale down that claim — to say, as have many Republicans, that Obama and Clinton were responsible for the rise of IS.

Behind these claims and factually incorrect remarks is Trump’s widely presumed desire to dominate the news-cycle, no matter how — even bad press would work.

When he gets bad press, he lashes out. Trump said in a Tweet on Friday: “I love watching these poor, pathetic people (pundits) on television working so hard and so seriously to try and figure me out. They can’t!”

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